Shifts

A firm’s culture consists of interlocking, intertwined, interconnected elements – the vision, goals, roles, processes, values, communications, attitudes, rules, beliefs – you name it. If your organization has an unfavorable corporate culture, it is likely to affect everything from team performance to brand perception and, ultimately, revenue. Don’t wait until your reputation, or revenues are on the line, take the steps to create a lasting culture shift.

While it is not impossible, sustainable culture shifts do not happen overnight and there is no real “quick fix.” It takes time, understanding, commitment, motivation, and a defined process.

First, establish a vision. Where do you want the firm to go? What is the ideal culture? How will the team work together and communicate? Leaders must write down the vision in as much detail as possible and seek input from key team members to help refine.

Once you have a solid vision, you must then have a thorough understanding of the current culture. What needs to change in order to make the vision a reality? Pay close attention to shared values, stories conveyed, and the language used. Identify what is missing.

Then, clear the way. Examine all processes and procedure that are impeding the vision. Consider the communication processes around onboarding, organizational development, decisions, rules and regulations, incentive programs, etc. Make it simple and clear.

When individuals understand and are aware of the new vision, you must guide the team, offer tools for growth, and empower the vision. The more the vision is shared, the more the team will want to be part of it. People want to be part of something larger than themselves, and that can only happen when the vision is shared.

Finally, in order to sustain a positive culture, you must never let up. Communicate from the top down and the bottom up. Everyone should understand the importance and impact of the firm’s culture. Like I mention before, there is no quick fix. Once change is rolling, you must constantly evaluate. It is a living process that should be proactively implemented by the firm leadership every day.

Take a step back and consider the big picture. Success in making cultural shifts comes from small, incremental steps implemented with determination and conviction. In the words of Confucius, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”